CHI-KUNG EXERCISE AND TAOIST MEDITATION
'For thousands of years Taoists have developed methods by which to cultivate the body’s energy systems and enhance their longevity, in order to achieve immortality. If there were no truth in what these exercises had to offer they would have long been forgotten!'
Here at the Little Nine Heaven UK School, we are proud of the original and rare systems of Chi-Kung exercise and Taoist Meditation methods we teach. Our practices mainly derive from one of the oldest known Taoist systems of practise called ‘Little Nine Heaven Wu Tao’. More modern versions of some of these exercises have emerged over the centuries, often using the same or similar names. For anyone who has knowledge of Chi-Kung systems you may recognise some of what we teach but the exercises practised are often very different from their more modern counterparts. Many schools may offer similar Chi-Kung exercise classes within their training, but few here in the UK teach to the depth, or instill the importance of understanding required for the body to truly benefit from this type of training.
Chi-Kung (Qi Gong) is a Chinese term used to describe moving exercise that is coordinated by the mind with the breath. There are many different types of these exercises which, over the centuries, have become an invaluable component of both Traditional Chinese medicine and the internal arts. There is written evidence to support the origin of Chi-Kung practise dating back to the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th Centuries BC).
Chi-Kung exercise is an excellent method for martial artists to prolong and heighten the benefit of their training. It also benefits non-martial artists in the same way and can improve the health of the body, both internally and externally. These special exercises will help the chi and blood to flow more freely throughout the body, nourishing the internal organs, making them stronger, reducing stress on the nervous system and helping to strengthen the body's immune system in order to build up resistance to disease.
'No-one is ever too old or sick to start Chi-Kung exercise. When practising Chi-Kung exercises you need to be patient and concentrate on correct breathing, calming the mind, and casting away worldly thoughts. Remember, the changes do not take place overnight; it takes a great deal of time and practise to cultivate. One should not become discouraged!'
Master James McNeil
Nei-Kung exercise is the Chinese term given to exercise of the mind. This is where the body remains externally still, but internally the mind seeks to guide the chi. Taoist Meditation is a form of Nei-Kung practise and can lead to a deep sense of inner peace. It serves as a structure to achieve higher levels of chi meditation and encompasses both forms of meditation; sitting and standing.
Tien Gunn Exercise (Celestial Stem)
Tien Gunn, meaning “Celestial Stem” is an ancient and rarely taught series of exercises for health and self-defence. These exercises are derived from the legendary internal styles of Chinese Kung-Fu known as Pa-Kua (Ba-Gua) and Hsing-I (Xing-Yi). Tien Gunn combines the health benefits of Chi-Kung exercise with the application of powerful fighting techniques. The spine and central nervous system of the human body or “Celestial Stem” becomes strong and flexible, the circulation of chi and blood is increased and a powerful root connection of the body to the earth is established by this practise.
Eight Section Brocade
The Eight Section Brocade is an ancient Chi-Kung and Nei-kung practice of washing the inner body which is rarely taught to today’s students in it's entirety. The name symbolically refers to the circulation of chi through the complex network of energy channels (Meridians) within the body. These exercises, when practised daily, will stimulate and cleanse the Meridians and also help to break down any obstructions that may hinder the flow of chi. With continual practise, not only will one’s chi be balanced and free flowing but the channels and their related organs will be in harmony. This in turn leads to a long and healthy life.
Taoist Standing Meditation
At the Little Nine Heaven UK School, we initially practise four different postures of standing meditation and some additional postures are required for certain internal Kung-Fu systems. When standing in these static positions, initially for about 5 to 15 minutes each, you will notice many different mental and physical sensations, some nice and some which are not so nice! These standing meditations are important for the development of chi circulation. Not only does it help activate the flow of chi in the body but it will also improve the Chi of the internal organs. Standing meditation is common practice in all the Chinese internal arts which shows it's importance in helping build up mental and physical strength and quality of chi within the body, which is a prerequisite for any energy based training regime.
Taoist Sitting Meditation
Taoist sitting meditation is rather more challenging than it looks or sounds. There are several progressions of meditation within our school and the student only moves on when they are ready. What you sense and what you tell your teacher determines your rate of progression. Progression often takes years of regular practise, however, positive results in general health can often be felt within weeks or months.
Some people are naturally open to this type of training, others find it difficult to sit quietly and remain still for even just a minute. Most students stop before they have even really started. This is because the 'monkey mind' (a Buddist term meaning 'unsettled' or 'restless'), constantly tries to deter them from practising. The key to this training is sheer determination and discipline.
Taoist meditation training is arguably the most difficult training a student will undertake. Taoists believe that one hour of deep meditation is equivalent to eight hours of sleep. Whilst practising sitting meditation, one should first learn to circulate their energy around the body. This is called the 'Little Nine Heaven Circulation' and is the first method taught at our school. When practised regularly and correctly, it is very beneficial for your health and can benefit anyone who suffers from high blood pressure, indigestion, premature ejaculation, hypertension, anxiety, mental and physical stress.
How and what will you study?
The Intensive Chi-Kung and Taoist meditation training course is split into two levels, in order to help the student digest the content and all the exercises. Our exercises are taught in detail and with clear explanation, as without this, to practise Chi-Kung and Nei-Kung methods incorrectly has no benefit to your health at all and in some cases, may even cause harm.
At the school this class is NOT a social class where students laugh and joke their way through the exercises with no concentration on their internal energy. At the end of each course, the student will understand the body from a Chinese energetic perspective and be able to truly grasp the purpose of the exercises they are taught. Initial training may feel intense, mentally, physically and emotionally. Total concentration is required at all times to get the exercises correct.
Many classes and teachers I have observed in the UK teach many exercises, changing them each week. The teachers try to show their vast knowledge of all the different exercises they have learned, thinking it will keep the students interested. In truth how can they, let alone their students, practise so many different exercises regularly enough to benefit from them?
The teacher often has no concept of how the body functions from a Chinese energetic perspective, so how can they understand what they are trying to train in, let alone teach others? Their students think that they only need to practise when they attend class and, therefore, never achieve any real benefit from their attempts to train.
Quality ahead of quantity is the key to success. Why practise 1000 exercises when 1 will do? If the student becomes bored of practising the same old exercise, the chances are they are missing the true objective of their training! When you start to tune in to your Chi, the sensations you feel will intrigue you and as your energy and health improves, this alone should stimulate you to keep up your practise.
At our school we focus solely on a small group of tried and tested Chi-Kung and Nei-Kung exercises and aim to refine them to a high level so that even a novice can feel the true beneficial effects of what they learn. As a student becomes more adept, it is possible for them to learn higher levels of Taoist Chi-Kung Healing and Taoist meditation, which are only taught directly by Master McNeil to suitable students on his visits to the UK.
These short 2 day courses are suitable for all ages and levels of experience. You will be encouraged to keep up your practise as it must become a part of your daily routine in order to become effective. There will be opportunity to progress your individual training with periodic private lessons as there are many levels to each exercise that can only be taught as the student progresses.
Struggling to find time to attend regular classes?
Too busy with work?
Why not consider studying in an intensive training course and self-study between courses in your own time. Begin to learn the unique Little Nine Heaven UK School Chi-Kung and Taoist Meditation syllabus in a structured programme, to suit your time frame.
Level 1 Basic Training Course
Chi-Kung Stance training, 5 Chi-Kung exercises (Reaching for Heaven and Earth, Tiger Plays with Ball, Tai Chi Push, Floating Palms and Lotus Flower Blossoms). The four postures of Standing Meditation, Eight Section Brocade, Part 1 of Tien Gunn (Celestial Stem) (Exercises 1-12) and Taoist breathing techniques.
Course 2 Days- 4 hours per day.
Level 2 Intermediate Training course
Full review of Level 1 practice with appropriate refinements. Part 2 of Tien Gunn (Exercises 13-25), Taoist Prayer exercise, Sitting Meditation (Little Nine Heaven Circulation method), Six Healing Sounds Chi-Kung, Gorilla Sitting exercise (men), Eagle Grasping exercise, Phoenix Perching exercise (women) and Taoist breath holding techniques.
Course 2 Days - 4 hours per day.
It is anticipated students who are dedicated to these practices can continue to study individually by private appointment where exercise can be adjusted to suit the individual’s progression and further levels of meditation can be introduced.
All private lessons and intensive courses are taught at the fully equipped Little Nine Heaven UK School by qualified and insured instructors. Private instruction at other venues may incur travel and accommodation costs.
For training costs of intensive training courses, see Timetable and Prices page. Feel free to contact for any further information. Intensive courses do not include food or lodgings